Behmor or Gene Cafe for Back to Back Roasts

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
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#1: Post by CaptainCowpie » May 22, 2019, 8:49 pm

I have been happily roasting with my heat gun and bread machine for probably over 15 years. But recently I have had some problems where I have lost entire roasts, so I have decided to purchase a roaster.

I was originally thinking of the Behmor and was waiting for the new model to come in stock, but while waiting I started to look at the Gene Cafe. My biggest concern is being able to roast 1.5-2 pounds per session. With my bread machine I was able to roast one pound roasts back to back.

Would this be possible with either the Behmor or Gene Cafe? I read that usually half pound roasts are best in both but more can be done in certain situations. But can roasts be done back to back? Does that hurt the machine? I need about 1.5 pounds minimum per week.

Any suggestions on what would work for my situation?


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#2: Post by CaptainCowpie » May 30, 2019, 11:24 am

I had sent an email to Sweet Marias about this, and here is the response I received:

The Behmor has been pushed back a little bit and should be available in the next two weeks. If you are looking for a roaster to do almost a pound I would say to go for the Gene as the Behmor can do up to a pound but only if you are trying to roast at a City level. You are unable to do back to back roasts on both of them but you can mess with the Gene a bit to not wait as long

So it looks like the Gene Cafe might be a better choice for me? Can anyone give feedback on how long I would have to wait between roasts? My plan would be to do 3/4 pound during each roast.


#3: Post by happycat » replying to CaptainCowpie » May 30, 2019, 11:37 am

Isn't the gene cafe home model rated at .5 lbs?

Given your intended production... you might want to look at the next level up.

When I bought in 2014 I looked at Behmor and gene and decided the Quest was a better long term solution. I have no trouble roasting back to back. Before I left on a recent trip, I roasted a couple kilos over a few hours (for me 10 batches, 2 kinds of coffee). Half for me, half for my wife to last a month. I'm not saying the Quest in particular is for you, but it's the next tier and with thermocouples will take you to the next level. I can do larger batches but have been playing with smaller sizes.
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#4: Post by CaptainCowpie » May 30, 2019, 2:37 pm

The Gene Cafe is rated at 8 oz, but I think some people have pushed a little past that.

I looked at the Quest, but my wife wouldn't be happy spending that kind of money on even more coffee equipment. I have definitely spent more than she is comfortable with over the years. It really looks like a nice machine.

It seems I may have to modify how I roast, doing batches on different days during the week. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. :D


#5: Post by maccompatible » Jun 06, 2019, 11:11 am

I've been doing somewhat back-to-back roasts on my Behmor. I've found that for consistency sake (and avoiding the dreaded overheat shut-off) it's useful to cool the unit at the same time as cooling the beans, roughly 5 or 6 minutes. At this point, I can pre-heat my Behmor again and go through another similar roast cycle with no weird problems (similar temp management, no shut-offs, similar roast times, etc).

Here's some backstory on my technique. I pre-heat as hot as the Behmor will let me (so below 330, since that's the auto-shut off temp). Once it's up to temp, I remove the hot chaff tray, load my beans, and set the roaster to 1/2 lb, start, then P5 manual mode. I leave it here until it recovers back to max temp (325-327) and let it coast on P4. P4 allows it to hold it's temp without dropping or overheating, but if it does either I correct it by either cracking the door a bit or giving it a few more seconds of P5.
At the 5 minute mark, the fans automatically kick on, so it begins to dump heat out of the roaster. To combat this, I return to P5. No risk of overheating with the fans on! I keep it here until I hear the first snap of first crack. At this point I increase the drum speed as a surrogate for increasing airflow, and wait for first crack to pick up. When it does, I drop the heat to P2 (to allow the exothermic reaction to heat through radiation) for 40 seconds. At this point, the heat from the beans is basically all used up, so you have to add more. You can do P3 for a lighter roast (city), or P4 for a darker (full city) roast, but I usually use about the same amount of time. They should crack for a total of a minute and a half, and I usually give it about 20 or 30 seconds more than that.
Then I shut off the roaster, dump the beans into a colander, vacuum the empty roaster and starting a cooling cycle, then manually cool the beans (which is MUCH faster than cooling in the Behmor). After 4-5 minutes when the beans are room temp again, I can start the whole process again. I've done up to 5 roasts at a time using this method, and I've had no issues yet.

Now, you'll notice I didn't say much about my times and charge weight. I've found that the sweet spot for my Behmor is 200-250g. They CLAIM it can do a full pound, but in my experience the heating element can't push a full pound to even get to first crack. Both times I tried a full pound I got NO crack, all the way up to 15 minutes, and both bags of DP Ethiopian tasted like black pepper.
If I use 200g, I can get to first crack in under 8 minutes, and finish the whole roast in under 10. 250 basically just adds a minute to that. I've tried 300g before, but that adds yet another minute, bringing total roast time to 12 minutes in most cases. These coffees never taste as good, imo, so I stick to smaller charges to take advantage of what power the Behmor DOES have.

I've been pretty satisfied with the roasts I'm getting since developing this method. I definitely recommend trying it out.
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#6: Post by CaptainCowpie » Jun 06, 2019, 1:14 pm

Thanks for the detailed explanation, it is extremely helpful.

I have talked to some others and have ultimately landed on purchasing the Behmor, which should arrive in warehouses next week. Knowing that you have done back to back roasts is a relief. That will save me from having to roast twice a week.

I will be trying your roasting method with my first roasts and will report back after a few tries.